In order to limit exposure I have drastically reduced the amount of brides I am taking per month. Even though it was an incredibly hard decision for a small business to decide to operate on lower numbers, I have finally come to terms that this has to be my ‘new normal’ for the time being. Right now it truly is what is best for me, my business, and the brides that I am able to book.
It goes without saying that because of this, I will be booking up quickly for 2021 weddings. Please set your appointments as soon as you can because requests are on a first-come basis. (Note that this means first to book, not first to contact.)
Whether you had to postpone your 2020 wedding or you are a new bride, I realize that there are still so many things up in the air for your event. Once you book an appointment, my main priority is to keep the conversation open with you. I am here to help when you need it, have your fittings when you are comfortable, and postpone or cancel if needed.
While in my studio for your fittings, a mask must be worn at all times. I will also be wearing a mask as well as wiping down surfaces prior to your arrival. I do understand that a fitting appointment is normally something several people are invited to, but given exposure risks right now I would prefer if you came alone or with only one guest. I’m more than happy to take photos and videos while you are here that you can share with others.
Please be safe out there and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
(Updated November 2020)
Since both you and your gown are unique, there is no magical number or price list that I can post. There are simply too many factors.
Costs are based on the combination of two things:
- The complexity of your gown. Unfortunately, not all gowns are created with the alterations specialist in mind. Some are very easy to take apart while others are not. Things that add to the complexity and cost of alterations (examples, not a full list):
- Beading and lace on areas that need tailoring
- Lace appliques that cover seams (vs seams being exposed)
- Multiple structural layers
- Internal corset layers or underwire
- Several layers of skirt
- Pleating on bodice that covers the bust seams
- Lace trim on hem
- Each task that needs to be performed. For example, I will charge for taking it in, hemming, tightening straps, adding a bustle, etc.
If you would like a general estimate, please email me a photo of you in your gown and a brief list of what you think you need altered. Detail shots of the lace/beading, side seams, hem, etc. are helpful in getting a more accurate quote but not necessary. A lot of stores will clip your dress where it’s too big while you are shopping –if you have photos that show these clips, that can be helpful as it tells me where exactly it’s too big.
If you would rather do a consultation in person, we can certainly arrange that. At an in-person consultation you will try on your dress, we will go over exactly what needs to be changed, and I will give you exact pricing.
- Please see CONTACT tab for more information on how to get an email estimate.
We will go over the exact charges at your first fitting and you will pay when you take your dress home with you. I do not require deposits. I accept cash, check, and all major credit cards.
If someone else has offered to pay for your alterations, I am happy to coordinate with them. They can call to pay over the phone, I can email them an invoice, or they can purchase a gift card on my website. Having them pay with a credit card at the end is the simplest.
My studio is in my home in the Portage Bay neighborhood, near Little Lago. Since this is a home business, my exact address will be given out once your appointment is booked.
Accessibility: Unfortunately my home is not wheelchair accessible at this time. There are a few steps from the street to my front door and the sewing studio is located on the second floor of my house. If this is an issue I am more than happy to accommodate you by coming to your home for the fittings.
Details on my home business:
I have been in business for myself since 2013 and over the years I have chosen to keep my business in my home because it affords me a great deal of flexibility in my professional and personal life. During peak wedding season I often work up to 80 hours a week and having everything in my home makes my life easier. I hope you appreciate the laid back ease of coming to my home as much as I love having it this way!
I also must mention that I do have a cat named Pigeon. She is the perfect companion to my home business because she couldn’t care less about the dresses–no scratching, climbing, or clawing has ever happened in the 8+ years my business has been in my home. During your visit she will likely greet you then go right back to napping. I mention all of this to give fair warning to anyone with allergies, but I do want to say that I have had several brides over the years with cat allergies and they haven’t had a problem at all. While your dress is in my care it stays in its garment bag until I am ready to directly work on it. Please let me know if you would like to chat about this further– I’d be more than happy to.
Even though I operate out of my house, I am licensed and insured as a business in the state of Washington.
I suggest doing your first fitting around 2-3 months before your wedding, but don’t wait until then to make your appointment—call early and get an appointment set up as soon as you can as I can fill up quickly.
By starting 2-3 months before your wedding we will have your second fitting around 4-6 weeks later and this is typically when everything will be done. If any minor tweaking or additions need to be made at the second fitting, there will still be plenty of time to make these.
Why I recommend this timeline:
- If you gain or lose weight. Sometimes this happens without us trying or even realizing and we want your gown to fit you perfectly on your wedding day.
- More time to find shoes (you need your exact shoes for the fitting) and other accessories that may need attached to your dress or their own alterations. These may include belts, toppers, boleros, separate over skirts, or veils.
- If you finish with your alterations months before your wedding and need or want something different as your wedding date gets closer, I cannot guarantee that I will have time for those changes. As much as I want to always have time for you, once you pay and take your dress home with you I will consider your alterations completed.
- I have very limited space and will not store gowns for longer than 3 months.
We can certainly start sooner than the recommended timeline, but please know that you will get your dress back early and as I mentioned above I may not be able to help you if you need changes as your wedding date gets closer.
If you are pregnant or become pregnant, please let me know as soon as you can so we can do your alterations as close to your wedding date as possible.
The first fitting usually takes place 2-3 months before your wedding. Once you book your first fitting appointment I will give you my address as well as parking instructions.
What to bring to your first fitting:
- Dress: The first and most obvious is your dress! Bring it on a hanger and in the garment bag that it came in. If you need either of these things, I can provide them for a fee. If you purchased your dress second hand and want to have it dry cleaned, please clean it before your appointment. (See Dry Cleaning tab for more info.)
- Shoes: Besides your dress, shoes are the most important. If you need a hem and do not have your shoes yet, please contact me and we will reschedule your appointment. Having the exact shoes (yes, the EXACT shoes… not just a pair that is a similar height) is very important so the dress does not end up being too long or too short.
- Undergarments: Undergarments may include a strapless bra, a corset bra, a sticky bra, a crinoline slip, Spanx (or similar shapewear) or it may mean nothing at all. If you are unsure of what undergarments your dress needs, I’m happy to advise you at the first fitting. I have bra cups for you to try on at the fitting that can be sewn into your dress. If you are unsure of what you need, I suggest waiting so we can talk about it in person once I see how your dress is fitting.
- Accessories: Bring anything else that you may need altered along with your dress. This could include a veil, shawl, topper, or jacket, but the need to alter these items is rare.
What to expect at your first fitting:
I schedule an hour for a first fitting but usually we are finished within 30-45 minutes. During this time you will try on your dress and I will pin the changes that need to be made. I will offer suggestions of things that I see but everything that is changed is ultimately up to you. After a thorough discussion of your dress I am happy to help you try on any accessories that you have brought with you and help you take photos or videos if you would like.
At the end of your appointment we will talk about pricing and set up your next fitting. Typically there are only two fittings, but I leave time for additional fittings in case some tweaking is needed. Every once in a while if a task is particularly complicated (like adding custom sleeves or a corset back) we may need additional appointments. If this is the case we will talk about this early on and still get your dress finished well before your wedding. Typically we are finished with everything at least two weeks before your wedding.
No deposit or payment is due at the first appointment, but before you leave we will discuss the exact amount you will owe before you take your dress home.
Although the second fitting is typically the final fitting, a third (or sometimes a fourth) is not uncommon if tweaks need to be made.
The second appointment is set when we are in person at your first fitting and is usually 3-4 weeks before your wedding. This timing allows for me to make any tweaks that might need to happen while still giving you enough time before your wedding. I usually like to have everything done around two weeks before your wedding.
What to bring:
- Shoes: Please bring the same shoes you wore during your first fitting so we can check the length of your dress. I do not store shoes.
- Undergarments: If you wore anything special at the first appointment or needed to find something new, please bring it along so we can check that it fits with your dress.
- Payment: If your dress is finished and you are taking it home, you will need to complete payment. I accept cash, checks, and all major credit cards.
What to expect:
At your second fitting (and any other fittings if needed), your dress will have been sewn and you will try it on again. At this point we are double checking to make sure that the dress is fitting how you want. If something does not feel right, this is the time to say something so we can make adjustments. As stated previously, small tweaks are common and we will have plenty of time to make any changes.
It may seem silly to have an entire tab devoted to describing bra cups but I get so many questions about them that it feels appropriate. In my experience a lot of bridal shops tend to talk about bra cups as these magical things that are a perfect replacement for a bra when in reality they aren’t always. They are great but they do not operate in the exact same way as a normal bra.
Bra cups help fill out and round the bust seams of a dress and are a great option for most people, but not all. If you are someone that needs more lift or would like more cleavage definition then you will need a separate bra. Since bra cups are sewn into the dress and aren’t pulled tight to your body (like a bra is), they don’t support you in the same way.
I have two styles of bra cups for you to try on at the first fitting. If they don’t do what you are hoping, then you can find a bra by the time of your second appointment.
I am often asked if I will make custom accessories. Below is a list of general answers but you may always ask. Even if I can’t help you directly I’m happy to talk to you about accessories or to try to give you helpful search terms.
Covid-19 addition: Masks: Yes, but typically only for the bride and possibly the groom as well. In other words I usually only have time to make one or two, not masks for an entire wedding.
Toppers, jackets, or boleros: No, not at this time. It simply takes too much time to do all of the designing, sourcing the materials, creating the pattern, sewing the item, and making any tweaks/changes that need to happen.
Veils: Plain/raw edged veils, yes. Any beading or lace veils are considered on a case by case basis.
Shawls or Wraps: As long as it is a plain edge and a simple shape then yes. Anything with custom beading or lace is considered on a case by case basis.
Whether you purchased your dress brand new, from a preowned website, or from a boutique like Blue Sky Bridal or Brides for a Cause sometimes repairs need to happen along with alterations.
Minor repairs are free (with a minimum alterations total of $100):
- Replacing one set of hook and eyes
- Resewing a few tack points
- Tacking down lace that has come unstitched
- Resewing a hole where a seam has come apart
- Tightening or resewing buttons (when buttons are present)
- Trimming loose threads
- Tying and knotting a few threads from loose beadwork
Charged, prices vary:
- Replacing buttons, beads, or rhinestones
- Extensive re-beading, even if beads are present
- Replacing a broken zipper
- Resetting a zipper that has come unsewn
- Repairing holes (when possible) that are not on a seam
- Adding lace appliques to cover holes or fill in spaces
- Replacing straps or anything else that is broken and is is needed to be completely replaced
- Replacing more than one set of hook and eyes
I do not do any sort of cleaning on dresses. If you choose to clean your dress, even spot cleaning, you must take it elsewhere.
You certainly do not have to have your gown cleaned before your wedding day. If you are happy with how it looks then you don’t need to worry about it. But if it is visibly dirty or you would be more comfortable with having it cleaned, I usually recommend having a gown dry cleaned before starting your alterations. Although it is not common, sometimes dry cleaning can cause problems to a dress and having this happen before alterations means that I can fix them during our normal timeline. For example, sometimes a lace overlay can shrink and if we have already hemmed your dress then it can become too short.
While I do generally only take wedding gowns, I will gladly accept a few other dresses if I am able to pin them at the same time as your wedding gown is being pinned. This may include a rehearsal dinner dress for yourself, a bridesmaid dress, or your mom’s dress. In other words, if everyone can come with their dresses and shoes to your wedding gown appointment then I will make time for them. Generally not accepting other dresses is more about scheduling appointment times than anything else. Please ask if you have questions about this or would like to have any other dresses tailored.
I do not tailor suits, pants, menswear, or general clothing.